Organisations wishing to provide recognised education need to be recognised as a legal entity providing higher education. A legal entity providing higher education is a legal body with full legal rights, which has been authorised by the Dutch Minister of Education, Culture and Science to confer recognised degrees. Such degrees are conferred on the basis of programmes that have been accredited by the Accreditation Organisation of the Netherlands and Flanders (NVAO) and that are provided in accordance with the regulations set down in the Dutch Higher Education and Research Act (WHW).*
Organisations wishing to apply for recognition must complete two successive procedures. It is recommended, prior to embarking on the procedures, to contact NVAO and possibly the Inspectorate of Education in the Netherlands for an introductory consultation.
*A recognised legal entity providing higher education does not qualify for funding by the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science. Government funding is reserved for research universities and universities of applied sciences listed in the Schedule to the Dutch Higher Education and Research Act. There is no procedure for inclusion in this Schedule, other than amendment of the Act.
**It is not possible to resort to facilities that have been provided under the responsibility of another recognised legal entity or to use final projects that have been established under the responsibility of another recognised legal entity.
***This can be either a Bachelor’s or a Master’s programme. Recognition on the basis of an Associate Degree programme is excluded, as is recognition on the basis of providing a joint programme or a joint specialisation as referred to in Article 7.3c of the Dutch Higher Education and Research Act.
****In the event that your organisation is taking over an accredited programme from a higher education institution, there will be no need for an aggravated initial accreditation procedure. In such cases, the Minister of Education, Culture and Science can request NVAO to assess whether, following the take-over, the accredited programme will still be provided as such.
*****In the event that the Minister of Education, Culture and Science intends to reject your application because it is not warranted that your organisation will comply with the duty to foster a sense of social responsibility among its students, the Minister will first request advice on this issue from the Commissie beoordeling uitingen maatschappelijk verantwoordelijkheidsbesef [Committee for the Assessment of Expressions of Social Responsibility]. This involves exceptional situations in which there is a suspicion that relevant parties have engaged in discriminatory behaviour or statements. Assessment of such issues is not standard procedure; they are solely addressed on the basis of actual signals.
For 2024, the NVAO rate for an aggravated initial accreditation assessment within the context of the recognition procedure for private organisations is EUR 23.000.
The costs of visits abroad or work performed by external experts will be invoiced additionally. A residual fee will be charged in the event that an application is withdrawn.
You can submit your application via the digital application form below, including the application letter signed by the board or management, the information file and the requested documents.
In the Netherlands and Flanders, the board of an institution may appeal a (draft) NVAO decision.